Sony has tried to bring the lovable and iconic blue Smurfs to the big screen twice before, failing to garner much critical success. Hoping to breath new life into the franchise, the studio has released a reboot, “Smurfs: The Lost Village”, that ditches the previous live-action/CGI hybrid style of the previous films for a fully animated adventure that, truth be told, has more heart and is much more enjoyable than its two predecessors combined.
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World War II is possibly the most documented setting embraced by the film industry. It’s dramatic stories, historical significance, bloody battles, and lessons about humanity have made for some of the greatest movies of all time. The latest film to focus on the era is “The Zookeeper’s Wife”, a movie that tells the story of a married couple who attempt to help Jewish refugees by hiding them in their zoo. While the film tells a great story during an important time in history, “The Zookeeper’s Wife” is no “Schindler’s List”.
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In the next few years several anime and manga properties are being prepped for Hollywood film adaptations with most of them planned to be live-action presentations. Such properties have been the focus of films in the past, mostly through animation and sub-par live action efforts, but the latest film based on the Japanese animation sub-genre “Ghost In The Shell” hoped to usher in a new era of excitement and quality for such remakes. Sadly what we got is a film that truly lives up to its name and fails to find much life despite having a compelling tale to tell.
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Dreamworks Animation had a pair of smash hits on their hands in 2016 with “Kung Fu Panda 3” and “Trolls”. The studio sought to continue that success with the first of two offerings in 2017, “The Boss Baby”, which, surprisingly enough, is only the second major animated release of the year so far. While not a perfect animated film, “The Boss Baby” packs enough amusing potty jokes and family fun to be a passable animated adventure, even if it is a bit misguided in its focus on action versus it’s much deeper elements.
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After dominating the Golden Globes the public at large finally gets a chance to see what all the buzz is about with the wide release of the musical romance flick “La La Land”. On the outside the film may look unassuming, like any other relatively simple and colorful musical picture, but as much as some people may want to deny it “La La Land” is so much more. The film lives up to the hype in every way with an engaging story, magnificent writing, and memorable music that will make you not only believe in love and happiness in the face of adversity, but also restores faith in classical film styles and treads on creative and visual ground long thought outdated in a industry that certainly could use a bit of nostalgia.
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